A surer book, with better chance for a discriminating market and an appreciative press than her first Shadows on the Valley. Once again the setting is Eastern Pennsylvania, this time centered in an extravagant, rococo house converted into a paying home for elderly women of former means and circumstance. Here, sharply portrayed, are the frayed and senescent, with their petty spites and foibles, flattery and malice. Here also is social busboy, Alex, petulant, weak, charming; and his ex-wife, Marcia, now companion to one of the residents. The break-up had been financial rather than emotional -- the intervening years had been unhappy ones -- and at the close, they find they want to make a fresh start. Good dialogue, easy style, a story told with psychological precision and astuteness, with irony, with charm.